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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK)  --  A new study of online “tech support” scams shows that millennial’s – not the elderly – may be hardest hit by the widespread frauds, and their victimization may extend far beyond the initial loss of money.

Scam artists are using the ploy to plant malware in victims’ computers and steal personal and financial information that can be used to commit identity theft later, according to a national study released Monday by Better Business Bureaus in five cities working with the Federal Trade Commission and FBI.

Thousands of Americans have been exposed to the scam, which often appears as a pop-up ad that looks like a legitimate alert about a computer virus.

In other cases, scammers contact people by phone or email, sometimes claiming they are from Microsoft tech support or insisting that the consumer needs to renew a software license.

The FTC and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported getting 41,000 complaints from U.S. consumers losing $21 million in the first nine months of this year.

Experts say that number is probably only a fraction of the real number of victims. The BBB study noted that Microsoft has reported getting about 12,000 complaints per month worldwide about tech support scams.

“The scam is truly unreported,” said Steve Bernas, president of the Chicago BBB.

The scammers ask for payments ranging from about $500 to thousands of dollars to “fix” a supposed problem with the computer.

Often, they will ask the victim to allow them remote access to their computer. Victims have reported spending long periods of time watching the cursor on their screen move as the phony tech says he is fixing the computer; this adds to the consumer’s belief that repairs are actually being made.

Instead, consumer advocates say, the scammer is just pretending to install a fix, or worse, they are installing malware that lets them peer into the victim’s computer files and capture keystrokes that divulge passwords and PINs.

Some victims get hit a second time when the scammers use this information to commit identity theft.

Bernas said many victims don’t even realize they’ve been scammed, because they think they paid a real tech company to fix their computer.

A 2016 Microsoft report showed that consumers aged 25 to 34 were six times more likely to lose money to a tech support scam than consumers who were 66 and over.

“Millennial”s live their life online … they’re most likely to encounter pop-up messages,” said Todd Kossow, Midwest regional director of the FTC.

These tech support scams differ from “ransomware” attacks, in which criminals take control of a system or steal data and demand a ransom to release it. Tech support scams start by fooling the victim into thinking there’s a need to fix their computer, phone or tablet, when in reality nothing is wrong with their device.

If you get a pop-up ad that claims your computer is infected, just shut down your computer without clicking on the ad, Bernas said.

The scams can be quite sophisticated.

Yonah Klem, of suburban Chicago, said she was scammed in September after first getting a notice claiming she had signed up for an online shopping service. She hadn’t, so she replied to the supposed vendor, who told her she had malware on her computer that needed to be cleared. That person referred her to a supposed tech support company, who claimed they could fix the problem for $1.000.

She paid the money and gave the person remote access to her computer.

Later, she and her husband had second thoughts. They asked a friend who was a computer expert, who told them it was a scam.

Klem described the whole process as “slick,” adding, “We’re both smart people and we got snookered.”

The Federal Trade Commission has had some success against the scammers, bringing 17 cases since 2012 and recovering several million dollars in restitution for consumers, Kossow said.

But because the scammers themselves largely operate from overseas – often based in India -- educating consumers is an important line of attack.

The agency has a new web page with information for consumers.

Anyone who gets a pop-up notice, call or email is urged to report it to FTC.gov, IC3.gov and the BBB’s Scam Tracker, even if they didn’t fall for the scam.

The BBB offers this advice:

-- Never purchase software or services from an unsolicited call, email, online ad or bogus website.

-- Don’t give control over your computer to a third party unless you are certain it is a legitimate tech support service.

-- Make sure you have quality, up-to-date anti-virus software.

-- If you get a pop-up alert, call or email that seems suspicious, just ignore it – do not click on anything or call them back.

-- If you think you have been victimized, report the scam to the authorities and have your computer checked by a reputable tech services company for possible malware.

-- Frequently monitor your credit card and bank accounts for any signs of fraud.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Todd Carmichael is one of the few chief executives in America to publicly condemn Republicans’ plans to slash the corporate tax rate and rewrite the tax code.

Why bash a plan that would be a boon for his shareholders? Carmichael says he’s willing to declare what other executives won’t: the bill may be good for his business, but it’s bad for the country.

Carmichael said he defines his own success by doing right by the people around him. His primary responsibilities as the Chief Executive Officer of La Colombe Coffee Roasters are to scale up his company and make money for his shareholders; he wants to redefine how Americans drink their coffee. He said it wasn’t in his plans to be a voice for political change.

"When events started unfolding the way they did," he said, he realized, "I’m going to have to come out of the boardroom and I’m going to have to use my voice."

Carmichael’s biggest concern over the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” is that it’s giving a large tax break to corporations at a time when they don’t necessarily need it. Drawing on comparisons from the way his grandparents stockpiled goods during The Great Depression, he explains why he believes giving a tax break to corporations now is bad.

"A stimulus package is like a bunker," he said. "It's the soups and crackers and all those things that are in your basement in case something goes wrong. The fact that we're eating that for dinner is dangerous. Because in years we might need it. And it won't be there."

Though he recognizes that it’s his responsibility as a CEO to take any gains from the tax cut and pass them onto his shareholders, Carmichael strongly disagrees with the idea that those gains for investors will eventually trickle down to the American people. He said other CEOs he knows agree.

"CEOs are looking each other and going, ‘What's happening? We didn't ask for this and we know it won't work,'" he said. "And we don't have a choice ultimately either, our shareholders want that money."

It's the long-term effects that concern him most, Carmichael said.

"We realize this is going to damage the economy over time, and it puts us in a very difficult situation," he added.

Carmichael said he didn’t ask for permission from his shareholders to speak out, and that his plan is to "just keep going until someone says something."

He felt compelled to speak out, he said, to help those who want change.

“I've seen this unraveling of a country that I didn't think I lived in," Carmichael said. "I didn't think that this country just favored the rich, and just favored the affluent, or favored the white, or favored the straight. I don't want to live in a country like that. So it's up to me to either move or change it. And I'm not going to move. So I'm going to do what I can to change it."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A New York Girl Scout is giving hundreds of kids the chance to play with a childhood staple, the American Girl doll, by creating a lending program for the dolls at local libraries.

Olivia Reduto, 14, of Edgemont, New York, spent the past year raising nearly $800 so she could purchase six American Girl dolls and accessories for the dolls.

Olivia, a ninth-grader who has been in the Girl Scouts since the first-grade, then donated two dolls each to three libraries within the Yonkers Public Library system just north of New York City.

The dolls, which can be checked out for a three-week period, already have a waiting list after being introduced this fall.

“It’s been overwhelming,” Tara Somersall, head of children’s services at Riverfront Library in Yonkers, said of the response. “One girl who checked a doll out from us last week, she left here skipping.”

Somersall added of the appeal, “Because American Girl dolls come in different ethnicities, looking at these dolls, a lot of little girls can relate to them.”

Olivia studied the demographics of each individual library in order to make sure each American Girl doll she donated was a doll the library’s patrons could identify with. American Girl dolls come with their books to explain their life story and represent a variety of backgrounds and historical eras.

“I have three main points of my project,” said Olivia, who earned a Girl Scouts’ Silver Award for the project. “One is diversity, one is to get kids excited about history and reading and one is about income inequality.”

She continued, “So I chose different types of dolls from different cultures and ones that had a certain history and certain years and worked with the library to pick them out.”

Olivia was inspired after reading an article about the Ottendorfer branch of the New York Public Library, which has been lending American Girl dolls for several years.

She held tea parties for younger Girl Scouts and worked at a Girl Scouts tag sale to raise money. Most American Girl dolls sell for more than $100, with accessories costing even more.

After Olivia had enough money raised to purchase the dolls, she went on a shopping spree at the American Girl flagship store in New York City. Olivia's mom, Tina Reduto, also won a raffle through the store for a free American Girl doll that they are donating to a fourth local library.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you love Girl Scout Cookies, but can't stand buying them from pushy co-workers with daughters, or maybe you want an ostensibly healthier alternative, Yoplait has you covered.

The yogurt company is releasing a trio of new flavors, based on the Girl Scouts' most popular cookies: Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs.

These flavors will be reflected in Yoplait Whips! Girl Scouts Thin Mints, Yoplait Original Girl Scouts Caramel Coconut, and Yoplait Whips! Girl Scouts Peanut Butter Chocolate.

"Beyond the delicious flavor, the yogurts will also remind consumers everywhere of the power of Girl Scout Cookies," said Barry Horowitz, Girls Scouts USA's chief revenue officer in a statement.

We're guessing it'll be awhile before we see yogurt-flavored Girl Scout cookies.

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Megan Schott(NEW YORK) --  Many use the beloved holiday tradition of dressing their kids up as an Elf on the Shelf just for laughs. But one Nashville, Indiana, mom is dressing her son up to raise money to buy toys for kids in need.

Megan Schott started dressing up her 18-month-old son Forest as an Elf on the Shelf last year.

"It was a lot," the mother of one recalled to ABC News.

Schott, 30, noted that she takes anywhere between 80 to 100 photos just to get a single silly shot of her son as an Elf on the Shelf. The process usually takes an hour. But it became so taxing, she didn't want to do it again this year.

"But everyone kept asking, 'Hey! Are we going to see Forest as an Elf on the Shelf?' So I said, 'Let's do a fundraiser out of it,'" she explained. "In order for me to post a nightly picture of Forest, someone would have to donate in the past 24 hours. It's kind of like a pay-per-view."

Schott had an initial goal of $500. But she was blown away by the response, meeting that goal in a matter of days. So she bumped up her goal to $1,000, but she blew past that goal too. She's now raised more than $2,000, which she'll split and donate to the Salvation Army and the Columbus Fireman's Cheer Fund.

Cheer Fund co-chairman Jarrad Mullis told ABC News that the Schott's donations will help the approximately 1,300 kids they serve each holiday season.

A spokesperson for the fund added in a statement, "Having the community be so involved like Forest and his family is what makes the Cheer Fund succeed each year. Without the generosity of volunteers and donations, it wouldn't be possible. Forest's donation will go toward purchasing new toys, bikes and stuffed animals for the over 1,200 children we will help this year."

For Schott, who works in administration at an automobile engine company, she just wants to teach her son how to live a great life.

"I really want to teach my son to be a caring and compassionate person and to be there for others," she said. "When you promote compassion for others, the others will show their compassion too. That’s what our community has done."

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iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- A top cyber security firm says it has identified a previously unknown group of Russian-speaking hackers who have allegedly stolen at least $10 million from U.S. and Russian banks over the past year and a half.

The group, named the "The Money Takers" after a software tool they use, allegedly targeted banks across the United States, breaking into at least 15 lenders in Utah, New York and California, and also stole at least $3 million from Russian banks, according to a report from the Moscow-based cyber security firm IB-Group obtained by ABC News.

The group also stole materials indicating it may be preparing to mount fresh attacks on institutions in Latin America, the report said, and could be trying to breach the Swift international banking messaging system that carries a huge number of the world's financial transactions.

Beginning in May 2016, the group mostly targeted card payment systems belonging to small community banks in the U.S., before then striking a transfer system used between Russian banks, IB-Group said. The hackers focused on small U.S. banks with fewer resources to put into cyber defenses, according to the report, succeeding in stealing an average of $500,000 from each.

Having broken into the banks' card payments systems, the hackers would open accounts and remove withdrawal limits on legitimate cards, according to details in the report. So-called 'mules'-- criminals with the cards -- would then go to an ATM and take out money, IB-Group said.

In a statement, First Data said that a number of small financial institutions operating on the STAR network had had their credentials breached for administering debit cards earlier in 2016, leading First Data to implement new mandatory security controls. It said the STAR network was never itself breached.

The Money Takers also attacked the servers of Russia’s AWS CBR interbank transfer system -- a Russian system similar to Swift linked to Russia's Central Bank -- according to IB-group. The criminals succeeded in breaking into an unnamed Russian bank by first gaining access to the home computer of the bank's system administrator, according to the cybersecurity researchers, IB-Group says. They then took control of the bank's AWS CBR system to make payments to themselves. IB Group named the hackers after the tool used in this attack, MoneyTaker V.5.

The scheme allowed the hackers to steal about $1.3 million through attacks in Russia. This autumn, the ring tried again to compromise the same bank transfer system, but were thwarted from stealing any money.

Russia’s government hacking programs, as well as the suspected collaboration between the country’s intelligence services and its cyber criminals, have attracted intense attention since allegations that Moscow used cyber-attacks to try to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Russian hackers allegedly used popular antivirus software to steal NSA secrets

Russia has also suffered an increasing amount of serious cyber-attacks, most recently with the "Bad Rabbit" ransomware virus that hit Russia and Ukraine last month, at one point crippling Russia's largest independent newswire, Interfax, that also carries financial news.

IB-Group, which says it has one of the largest forensics computer laboratories in eastern Europe, said that the Money Takers also reflected a broader trend of cyber criminals increasingly targeting banks instead of their clients, as improved security makes fraud against individual customers less profitable.

"What we see in recent years is for targeted attack groups to actually target the bank itself, rather than the client of the bank," Nick Palmer, director of International Sales at IB-Group told ABC News in an email. "As tools to defend against common malware and other types of fraud which target banking customers get better, the return on investment becomes lower."

Criminals are looking more often for larger pay-off from one-off hits.

Palmer's colleague, Tim Bobak, from IB-Group's threat intelligence outreach unit, added, "Its easier to steal 5 million once than 1,000 [dollars], 5,000 times."

The Money Takers used unusually sophisticated malware to conceal their attacks, according to IB-Group. The ring employed so-called file less malware that exists only on a computer’s temporary memory that is deleted when it reboots, making it hard to detect. The hackers also further hid their break-ins with malware that generated encryption certificates from well-known brand names, such as Bank of America and Yahoo.

So far, IB-Group said it had not found any indication that the Money Takers had succeeded in breaking into SWIFT, but warned that it expected the group would likely try to compromise it at some point.

While carrying out their attacks, the ring sought out internal documents within the banks’ systems, including those relating to the SWIFT system, the IB-Group report said. In particular, the hackers stole documents on a product used in money transfers, called FedLink, that has 200 customers in Latin America, IB-Group noted.

"We assume that banks in Latin America may become the next target of this group," the report read.

The extent of the Money Taker's activity is still unknown, the report continued, and the cyber-security firm believes there are more attacks it has not uncovered.

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ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) -- This Christmas has been the season of giving, not getting, for an 8-year-old boy in New Jersey whose home has become a bit like Santa's workshop.

On Dec. 3, Jayden Perez, a third-grader in Woodland Park, New Jersey, held a toy drive at his home to collect toys for children in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

His mother, Ana Rosado, told ABC News Monday that in September, her boss had given Jayden, a New York Giants fan and football lover, one pretty epic gift: tickets to a Giants game. Rosado said it was a gift just because, not for Jayden's birthday or any special reason.

On video, she captured Jayden breaking down in tears of joy after being given the tickets.

Rosado said that also around that time, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. She and Jayden volunteered to help. The two collected donations and helped pack and ship them out. She said the two helped put together more than 40 boxes.

After Thanksgiving, Rosado said Jayden came to her with his own, new idea: He'd been blessed with Giants tickets so he wanted to pay it forward to the children of Puerto Rico.

"He said, 'Mom, I'm concerned kids aren't going to get toys,'" she said. "That really touched me."

Jayden told her that he wanted to donate his Christmas gifts to the children but Rosado took it a step further: have a toy drive.

Rosado posted the event on social media and word spread with help from local media outlets.

She said that so far, the drive had netted more than 1,000 toys but that there were more toys coming this week. Rosado said a man had even reached out to her from Pennsylvania, saying he had a trailer of toys that had been donated from his community.

"I'm so overwhelmed," Rosado said. "I'm so proud of my son. ... I didn't expect so many toys."

She said that a shipping company was also helping them to get the toys to Puerto Rico. Initially, Rosado said, two of her friends had planned to fly to the island to help distribute the toys. But, she said on Monday, she and Jayden would now be going Jan. 4 to celebrate Three Kings' Day.

It will be his first trip to the island, she said.

Rosado said they planned to bring some toys to an orphanage that had reached out to her for help and then they'd travel Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 to several small cities that had been hit hard by Maria.

So far, Jayden has more than 30 boxes of toys packed up and ready to be shipped.

"He has such a great heart," Rosado said. "I know that my son is doing good out there."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Lego has won its first copyright case in China, according to the company.

The Danish toymaker said the case was against two Chinese companies that manufactured products imitating Legos. This is the first time the Lego Group has filed and won an "anti-unfair competition case" in China.

The company said the China Shantou Intermediate People’s Court decided that the two Chinese companies "must stop copying the packaging and logos of LEGO products in the future, as this constitutes copyright infringement."

“We are pleased with the ruling by Shantou Intermediate People’s Court, which we see as a strong indication of the continued focus on proper intellectual property protection and enforcement by the Chinese courts and responsible authorities. We think this is very important for the continued development of a favorable business environment for all companies operating in the Chinese market," said Peter Thorslund Kjær, vice president of legal affairs for the Lego Group.

“We will continue our efforts to ensure that parents and children are able to make informed choices when they are buying toy products, and that they are not misled by attempts by irresponsible companies to make toy products appear as something that they are not.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(JACKSON, N.J.) -- A Saturday showdown in New Jersey touted as the world’s largest snowball fight was abandoned after a Nor’easter dumped around 6-inches of snow.

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey teaming up with the Hallmark Channel set up the late morning cost-free rumble on Dec. 9 as an "attempt to break the record for the world's largest snowball fight" and expected thousands to participate in the “family-friendly event executed with kid-friendly plush snowballs while supplies last,” according to a release from the theme park’s website.

According to the same release, Six Flags, which broke the Guinness World Records title in 2016 for attracting 400 people as the "most couples kissing under the mistletow" and boldly stated that Canada rein as snow fight world record holders with an 8,200 count in 2016 was bound to be broken on Saturday as Six Flags "aims to break the record with 9,000 participants," the statement read.

But before would-be participants got a chance to toss their orbs at each other, a warning was added in boldface type informing the public that the icy war was off “due to inclement weather.”

No specific makeup date was released.

Attempts by ABC News’ to reach Six Flags representatives were not immediately returned.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The world's largest music streaming service and one of the most popular social platforms in China are investing in each other.

Spotify and China's Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) are expected to buy minority stakes in one another in cash, though the value of the deal and the shareholding sizes have not been disclosed.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said, “Spotify and Tencent Music Entertainment see significant opportunities in the global music streaming market for all our users, artists, music and business partners. This transaction will allow both companies to benefit from the global growth of music streaming.”

Spotify operates in more than 60 countries, but it has yet to break into the Chinese market.

On the other end, Tencent Music Entertainment CEO Cussion Pang said, “We are excited to embark on this partnership with the largest music streaming platform in the world. TME and Spotify will work together to explore collaboration opportunities, with a common objective to foster a vibrant music ecosystem that benefits users, artists and content owners.”

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moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A recent study found that Americans spend more time in their vehicles once school starts for their children and will continue to do so in the midst of the holiday season.

A 2017 Back to Driving Survey shows nearly 75 percent of parents resume driving during the course of the school year compared to the summer. A significant amount of that driving time includes school pick-ups and drop-offs, going to daycare, and commuting to other after school activities like sports and clubs.

"When you've got kids playing sports, in different after school programs... we're almost living in our car," says Certified Financial Planner Jeff Rose. Rose recently spoke with ABC News about the survey.

The findings in the survey back up Rose's claim. Thirty five percent of drivers participating in the study think of their vehicle as a second home, especially when they consider how often their families eat and nap in their cars.

Although close to three quarters (71.4 percent) of drivers are generally satisfied with their family vehicle according to the survey, Americans are still in search of an upgrade. Fuel efficiency and overall space are two luxuries people desire when searching for an upgrade.

Putting money towards an upgrade could be a convenient move for families, but Rose warns there are a couple precautions people should take before buying a new car.

"Just make sure you're not buying more car than you can afford," he tells ABC News, adding, "You have to look at your budget and make sure it makes sense."

Rose uses his own family as an example.

"We just went from a family of five to six just last year, and that totally changed the dynamic of our car needs. We went from being able to handle a smaller size SUV, and when we got our daughter, we couldn't fit groceries in there."

He says families considering buying a new vehicle should ensure they are not putting their families in debt for the sake of adding one or two luxuries.

Rose adds that each family has different goals and should consider those goals before making a purchase also, recommending, “If you have a growing family or you're expecting to have more children take that into consideration as well."

The Back to Driving Survey examined 789 drivers licensed in the U.S. who have at least one child 15-years-old or younger living in their home. It is commissioned by the GM BuyPower Card.

Jeff Rose is the CEO and Founder of Alliance Wealth Management, LLC, an investment advisory firm. He is also the founder of GoodFinancialCents.com.
 
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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Companies are improving facial recognition technology and using machine learning to increase efficiency and make their products more user-friendly for consumers, according to CapTech Mobile Fellow Jack Cox.

Cox recently spoke with ABC News about how people are familiarizing themselves with facial recognition following the release of the Apple's iPhone X.

Apple's latest smartphone allows users to unlock their phone with technology that recognizes their faces, rather than having users type in a password or log in with their fingerprint.

CapTech conducted a study on the accuracy of other companies that implement facial recognition and “were not extremely impressed with the accuracy.” Cox contends, however, that "the new technology Apple released is much more accurate… [and] coming into the future, you’ll see it’s becoming more and more accurate and being used in more and more places.”

Like the iPhone X, Cox expects facial recognition to become more prominent and that it will assist in areas of security and surveillance.

Cox says it is not just facial recognition that companies are exploring, but also machine learning.

He says machine learning is being used across different industries to help companies make decisions and makes it easier for customers to use their products.

"We see companies wanting to leverage machine learning," says Cox. In banking, for instance, companies use machine learning to "employ better decision making, identify credit risks and opportunities," among other issues that banks are trying to attack with more efficiency.

Another example Cox points to is the gaming industry. He says companies "use machine learning to identify trouble spots in the game where players were having difficulty and identify that spot to make the game more engaging for users.”

With companies eager to implement both facial recognition and machine learning to improve their operations, Cox expects these devices and technologies to become more apparent in people’s everyday lives.

"We're going to see more augmented reality,” Cox says, adding it will represent “real world objects through the phone, such as seeing a chair in the room."
 
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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine responded Thursday for the first time since it was announced Sunday the New York City institution had suspended Levine as it investigates what it says are "multiple allegations of sexual misconduct" from the 1960s to the 1980s.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the opera noted that the period of when the allegations were made included "the earlier part of his career at the Met."

Levine will not be conducting or taking part in any other activities at the Met, the statement said.

"While we await the results of the investigation, based on these new news reports, the Met has made the decision to act now," said Peter Gelb, Met General Manager. "This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected."

Levine responded to the allegations for the first time on Thursday night in a statement to The New York Times.

"As understandably troubling as the accusations noted in recent press accounts are, they are unfounded," he said in the statement. "As anyone who truly knows me will attest, I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor."

The suspension comes a day after the opera said it was launching an investigation of the conductor based on a 2016 police report filed in Illinois by a man who alleges he was molested as a teenager by Levine 30 years ago.

The New York Post first reported details of the police report.

According to the police report, the alleged abuse occurred when Levine, now 74, was a conductor at the Ravinia Music Festival in Illinois. Levine is now director emeritus at The Met Opera.

The alleged victim, whose name was not published by The New York Post, filed a report with the Lake Forest Police Department in October 2016.

"I began seeing a 41-year-old man when I was 15, without really understanding I was really 'seeing' him," the alleged victim, now 48, said in a written statement to police. “It nearly destroyed my family and almost led me to suicide. I felt alone and afraid. He was trying to seduce me. I couldn’t see this. Now I can.”

Multiple attempts by ABC News to reach Levine's representative were not immediately returned Sunday.

The Met Opera's general manager, Peter Gelb, said in a statement that the organization was aware of the accusations.

"This first came to the Met’s attention when the Illinois police investigation was opened in October of 2016,” Gelb said. “At the time Jim said that the charges were completely false, and we didn’t hear anything further from the police. We need to determine if these charges are true and, if they are, take appropriate action. We will now be conducting our own investigation with outside resources.”

And a statement posted Saturday on The Met Opera's Facebook page read, "The Met would like to let our supporters know that we are deeply disturbed by the news articles that are being published online today about James Levine. We are working on an investigation with outside resources to determine whether charges of sexual misconduct in the 1980s are true, so that we can take appropriate action."
 
Neither Levine nor a spokesperson for him has publicly commented.
Levine rose to prominence as The Met Opera's music director. The lauded maestro has been with the Met for 40 years and led "more than 2,500 performances of 85 different operas since his company debut in 1971 leading Puccini's Tosca."

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Starbucks(NEW YORK) -- For a limited time, Starbucks is offering a holiday-themed Christmas Tree Frappuccino.

The coffee chain describes the drink as being "mocha and peppermint...blended with milk and ice, topped with a festive tree made of matcha infused whipped cream, a caramel drizzle an candied cranberries finished off with a strawberry tree 'topper.'"

According to Starbucks' Twitter account, the novelty drink will be available in the United States and Canada through December 11.

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JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After a few days of losses, Wall Street bounced back on Thursday as all three major indices finished in positive territory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 70.57, closing at 23,211.48.

The Nasdaq climbed half a percent, ending the session at 6,812.84, while the S&P 500 climbed to 2,636.98, a gain of 7.71 from its open.

The price of crude oil climbed again on Thursday. A barrel selling for $56.62 at the close, about 1.2 percent higher than when the market opened.

The Federal Reserve said Thursday that U.S. net worth climbed $1.7 trillion from July to September. The value of stock portfolios rose by $1.1 trillion in that time, while real estate values jumped $400 billion.

Freddie Mac says mortgage rates rose this week, another sign that the Federal Reserve could opt to raise interest rates next week.

And credit card use was a major reason for more consumer borrowing in October. That figure rose by $20.5 billion in October, the largest increase in nearly  a year.

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